The Lord of the Rings Commander - Nonlegendary Creature Review

Mike Carrozza • June 21, 2023

Moria Scavenger by Igor Krstic

Artifacts and Lands | Enchantments | Instants and Sorceries| Legendary Creatures | Non-legendary CreaturesThe Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Set Reviews


This set is absolutely massive. There are so many new cards in the Commander precon decks and this article is going to be all about the nonlegendary creatures. I don't know the books or movies and some of you don't like that about me reviewing these. I'm sure when we get the Saw set for Universes Beyond I'll have a lot to add, but I'm here to evaluate the game pieces so let's get started.


Archivist of Gondor

There isn't much to say about Archivist of Gondor besides that it has the ability to introduce the monarch and essentially is a monarch trigger doubler. I think that's a lot of work for draw an extra card a turn when you can have other cards that will draw you cards each turn regardless of whether or not you were protecting the crown.

That said, if you're playing a deck with blue that keeps snagging the monarch, this isn't the worst card to include. I'd prefer a sureshot like Phyrexian Arena, Black Market Connections or just an overall better draw engine like Rhystic Study. Not off to a great start.

Banquet Guests

This is great in dedicated Food decks for sure, but aside from the Food and Fellowship precon commanders, I don't really have that, per se. Rocco, Street Chef, Samwise Gamgee, and Treebeard, Gracious Host are the only ones I can think of besides Sam, Loyal Attendant and Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit. You'll get a big, big beater that tramples through and sticks around with that indestructible ability.

I think most of all, this absolutely belongs in Hamza, Guardian of Arashin. Not only are you likely to get a discount on the Guests from Hamza, but if you've got Food around, that's extra discount. Then, their counters also feed into Hamza's reduction ability. Slam dunk, perfect commander for this card. That said, I do want to see someone get finished off by Shalai and Hallar with this card.

Cavern-Hoard Dragon

Folks online have been saying this is the "Dockside Extortionist at home" of the set.

Dockside Extortionist, it is not. But it is still awesome. It won't always come down for two mana unless there's an artifact deck at the table, but when it does, that's the closest it'll get to being Dockside - at least after the combat step.

It's not an enters-the-battlefield ability. It's a combat damage trigger that relies on an opponent having a ton of artifacts. You can get it to happen again if you give this big Dragon double strike, at least. Maybe extra combat steps are in order.

Of course, this is a Dragon, so The Ur-Dragon and Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm decks are absolutely ready to squeeze this in.

Champions of Minas Tirith

Champions of Minas Tirith are one of the wildest pillowfort effects on a creature in a while. This definitely incentivizes you to keep your opponents' hands full and how do you do that? Stax or group hug! Your opponents can't even think of attacking you unless they pay for the privilege and you get to hang on to the monarchy. I think Heliod, the Radiant Dawn/Heliod, the Warped Eclipse decks might be able to use this to its greatest effect. Either way, this card gets the gears going and will be popping up in lists, testing until it solidifies itself into archetypes - hopefully the ones I'm predicting above.

Corsairs of Umbar

I think this is a sneaky seed for our upcoming return to Ixalan. As a Pirate that can grant a fellow Pirate safe passage, I'd expect to see this in Pirate themed decks at least like in Admiral Beckett Brass, Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator, or Ramirez DePietro, Pillager. It could also be used as Pirate tech in Zara, Renegade Recruiter, Captain N'ghathrod, and Ghost of Ramirez DePietro.

Adding Orc and Goblin onto this ability means that not only will you Amassed Army get through for big damage, but you can swing Zurgo and Ojutai without worrying about getting tangled up on the air.

But again, this is definitely more of a Pirate card.

Feasting Hobbit

Feasting Hobbit is great payoff for Food decks that can immediately Equip it with Lightning Greaves and take out the player causing you the most trouble. I am higher on this and Rapacious Guest than most, I think. I have a Will the Wise and Mike, the Dungeon Master (Wernog, Rider's Chaplain and Othelm, Sigardian Outcast) deck that makes a ton of Food it never makes much use of unless it's an emergency or to sacrifice to God-Eternal Bontu. Dropping this down and sacrificing even four Food tokens for two mana gives you a 14/14 body that can't be blocked by smaller creatures. Maybe a little Warstorm Surge and Stalking Vengeance action in a Henzie "Toolbox" Torre deck can make this worth it despite not being able to Blitz out the Hobbit.

Grey Host Reinforcements

Graveyard hate is a good thing (I say through gritted teeth). I play a ton of graveyard strategies and if you wanted to severely hurt me, you'd exile my graveyard. With Grey Host Reinforcements you can do that and get a beater in the air. It's also got Ward 3 which means that most folks aren't going to target it, so you're free to blink it or whatever you need if you have to exile another graveyard.

I reckon Spirit decks like Millicent, Restless Revenant will enjoy having some targeted grave hate to add to their lists.

Lossarnach Captain

Excellent Human themed card that gets a blocker out of the way for every Human that enters the battlefield. Just a wonderful design for the aggressive Human decks out there including the precon deck this is created for. Human themed Rhoda, Geist Avenger decks, whether or not with Timin, Youthful Geist, will definitely eye this card for a way to smack for even more commander damage. Jirina Kudro decks are also bound to pop a Cappy in the 99 because and get a swing in without blocking impediments.

Mirkwood Elk

This is an Elk not an Elf! A six mana 6/6 with a creature type specific ability better be good!

This is...fine. There are so many Regrowth effects in green and while this brings an Elf back to your hand on ETB or attack, I think there are other options. What else does this do? you gain life equal to the returned Elf's power? A notoriously small creature type that usually has low power and toughness. Plus, if the Elk is trouble for your opponents, you'll need to protect it because it'll surely have a bounty on it.

I'd slam Creeping Renaissance or Grave Sifter in green, but there are a lot of Lathril, Blade of the Elves so I'd play Patriarch's Bidding or Haunting Voyage before putting in the Elk, personally.

Mirkwood Trapper

I am curious to see this one play out.

Whenever you attack, you automatically get to pump one of your creatures which is fine for a blocker that's going to sit around to give your opponents a decision to make. If they attack you, you get a free debuff and probably can take out their attacker.

The two power buff probably isn't a big enough bargaining chip to get opponents who really want to come for you to look another way, but at the very least they'll have to consider it. There doesn't seem to be a forced combat deck with these colors in it at first glance, but that's where this has my mind going. But for now, Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis political group hug decks are where I'd assume this will find its home beyond the Simic precon commanders.

Moria Scavenger

This reminds me a little bit of Anje Falkenrath in that it's a Rakdos rummager that serves a reanimator strategy very well.

What I really like about this is that it's got a big enough butt that it can threaten to block lots of creatures and survive and if it can't, it can discard a card, draw a card, and potentially make another blocker that'll chump for you. Deathtouch is a great deterrent so most times, you'll get to activate at the end step before your turn and get an Army and a card. But if a big enough threat is coming your way, you might be willing to cash in the Scavenger to kill it. Don't forget that after declaring blockers, you can still activate the Scavenger!

This card is much better than its lack of hype would lead you to believe. I will be testing it in my Anje Falkenrath and Lyzolda, the Blood Witch decks.

Motivated Pony

The most important part of this card is that it is a new Horse for those out there with Pony decks - Hi, Rachel Weeks!

I wish this granted trample instead of vigilance as the Food creation payoff. Would that have been too strong? Giving +3/+3 and vigilance to all your attacking creatures because you created a Food before attacking is great and easy to accomplish when the deck is built for it. Haste is also very nice, the surprise of a big board is exactly what you want in a combat focused deck.

Plus this will trigger a few times with additional combat steps all from the same Food entering the battlefield. But still no trample!

What decks want this that wouldn't prefer Craterhoof Behemoth? Budget decks, for one. End-Raze Forerunners are a little more expensive but give that little trample edge. You still need dedicated slots to Food creation on top of including the Pony already.

Orcish Siegemaster

This is very much an Amass Orcs card and a surprise finisher in a Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin deck. The idea is that it plays nice in the precon that it came in. Goblins are some of the tiniest creatures in Magic. The only Goblins with power four or greater I think are worth playing in all Goblin decks are Akki Battle Squad, Goblin Goliath, and Muxus, Goblin Grandee.

Orcs are a little more interesting beyond just the Army stuff, but the only way to get over five power is to play Zurgo Helmsmasher.

Play all your creature type anthems like Vanquisher's Banner I reckon? I am just not impressed by this card. It felt silly looking into it as much as I did only to turn up what I already thought: This is very much an Amass Orcs card and a surprise finisher in a Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin deck.

Prize Pig

There's something about this card that feels like it can be broken and infinite mana can be pulled from an award winning piggy.

The obvious synergy seeded in the precon with Sam, Loyal Attendant which reduces the activation of Food to a single mana. This means that you tap the Pig, sacrifice the Food, gain three life, put three ribbon counters on the Pig which untaps the Pig and you can keep sacrificing Food as you please.

I think with Soul's Attendant effects and Angel of Vitality/Cleric Class effects means that each creature entering gains you three life, untapping the Pig. Stack the triggers to keep untapping the Pig when you make multiple creature tokens! Or you can just cast a white spell while playing Balefire Liege.

It's a two-mana dork that untaps! It's pretty cool!

Rampaging War Mammoth

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm not high on Rampaging War Mammoth. I think that it's great to have an activated ability that allows you to draw a card and destroy a few artifacts, but you'll have to pay four mana for a single Shatter and a draw. Sure, it's an activated ability so it's more difficult to counter and can be activated at instant speed, but I'm not super impressed with that in my kind of games, personally.

Notably, this does discard a 9/7 trampler into your graveyard to Reanimate after replacing itself. Sedris, the Traitor King is where I'd see myself including this. Sound off in the comments because this is the one I feel most wrong about, given how much this is preselling for.

Rapacious Guest

I'm way more excited about this card than most people, I feel like.

Rapacious Guest has menace and is a way to generate up to three Food per combat and whenever you sacrifice a Food, it gets bigger. You don't even need to sacrifice the Food to its ability. You can sacrifice it to Feasting Hobbit or Krark-Clan Ironworks or Infernal Tribute or Deadly Dispute or Goblin Engineer or Goblin Welder or Sai, Master Thopterist or...

Then on top of all of this, Rapacious Guest has a leaves the battlefield trigger - not just a death trigger! It gets doubled by Teysa Karlov and Drivnod, Carnage Dominus. And it gets triggered by blinking and flicker strategies. Great in reanimator and blink! My kind of card. You don't even need the Food for it to be worth it in those, but it helps.

Riders of Rohan

This is just so much bang for your buck in Human decks. Get your Urza's Incubator and Herald's Horn ready and Dash out this tank of a creature for less and get freaking three Humans with haste. This is so nuts in the Riders of Rohan precon deck that it shares a name with it. Éowyn, Shieldmaiden is probably the best deck for this, but Éomer, King of Rohan also really loves it.

Does Winota, Joiner of Forces want this? I don't want to comment on cEDH potential here. We can't forget the other creature type involved - Knight! Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale is a Knight themed commander that would probably to see this in the 99.

Good LORD!

This set is very pushed! I won't be surprised to see these cards cropping up in the 99 of future new legends. With the return to Eldraine, I'm also certain we'll see a ton more Food related cards.

What is your favorite non-legend of the set and why is it Rapacious Guest? Tell me in the comments!

Mike Carrozza is a stand-up comedian from Montreal who’s done a lot of cool things like put out an album called Cherubic and worked with Tig Notaro, Kyle Kinane, and more people to brag about. He’s also been an avid EDH player who loves making silly stuff happen. @mikecarrozza on platforms